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Opinion

Opinion

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Published by jchristianadams

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Published by: jchristianadams on Apr 30, 2012
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04/30/2012

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The Government also sued Carl Mickens, individually andin his official capacity as Circuit Clerk of Noxubee County, andNoxubee County under Section 11(b) of the Voting Rights Act. Aconsent decree was entered with these defendants contemporaneouslywith the filing of the complaint so that they are no longer activeparties.UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTSOUTHERN DISTRICT OF MISSISSIPPIEASTERN DIVISIONUNITED STATES OF AMERICA PLAINTIFFVS.CIVIL ACTION NO. 4:05CV33TSL-LRAIKE BROWN, NOXUBEE COUNTYDEMOCRATIC EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE;NOXUBEE COUNTY ELECTION COMMISSION DEFENDANTSMEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDERThe United States of America brought this action against theNoxubee County Democratic Executive Committee and its chairman,Ike Brown, and the Noxubee County Election Commission
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allegingclaims under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, and alsoasserting claims against Brown and the Noxubee DemocraticExecutive Committee under Section 11 of the Voting Rights Act.The case was tried to the court from January 16 to January 31,2007, following which the parties submitted post-trial briefspresenting what they contend are the factual and legal issuespertinent to the court’s decision. Having considered the evidencepresented and the parties’ memoranda, the court makes thefollowing findings and conclusions.
Case 4:05-cv-00033-TSL-LRA Document 214 Filed 06/29/2007 Page 1 of 104
 
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The Parties:The plaintiff is the United States Department of Justice (theGovernment) which brought this action pursuant to the authoritygranted by 42 U.S.C. § 1973j(d), which states,Whenever any person has engaged . . . in any act orpractice prohibited by Section [2 or 11] . . ., theAttorney General may institute for the United States, orin the name of the United States, an action forpreventive relief, including an application for atemporary or permanent injunction . . . or other order.The defendants are the Noxubee County Democratic ExecutiveCommittee, its chairman Ike Brown, and the Noxubee County ElectionCommission. Under state law, the Noxubee County DemocraticExecutive Committee (NDEC) is responsible for “performing allduties that relate to qualifications of candidates for(Democratic) primary elections” and for conducting Democraticprimary elections in Noxubee County. See Miss. Code Ann. § 23-15-263. Ike Brown has been chairman of the NDEC since 2000, havingbeen elected to the position at the county convention in 1999.The Noxubee County Election Commission is responsible forconducting general elections, as well as for maintaining thecounty’s voter registration rolls. See Miss. Code Ann. § 23-15-213. The defendants, together with the registrar, who in NoxubeeCounty is the circuit clerk, have control over every electoralactivity “from voter registration, to voter roll maintenance, tovoting itself, and to canvassing returns and certifying electionresults." Jeffrey Jackson and Mary Miller, Mississippi Practice
 
Case 4:05-cv-00033-TSL-LRA Document 214 Filed 06/29/2007 Page 2 of 104
 
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According to the 2000 Census data, Noxubee County has apopulation of 12,548, of whom 3,667 (29.2%) are white, and 8,634(68.8%) are black. Of the 8,697 persons of voting age, 2,826(32.5%) are white and 5,711 (65.7%) are black.
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Series: Encyclopedia of Mississippi Law § 6 (2003). Theirauthority is thus said to be "superior to that of any otherplayers in the process." Id. (“the local parties' role in theconduct of the primaries is all encompassing”).The Government’s Claims:When the Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965, the populationof Noxubee County was approximately 70% black and 30% white, but100% of the elected officials in the county were white. Now,forty years later, the population of Noxubee County is still about70% black and 30% white, but 93% of elected officials are black.
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 Four of five members of the Board of Supervisors are black; fiveof five members of the Election Commission are black; five of fivemembers of the Board of Education are black; and with theexception of the county prosecuting attorney, all countywideelected officials are black, including the circuit clerk, chanceryclerk, sheriff, tax assessor, superintendent of education,coroner, two justice court judges and two constables. Moreover,the Democratic party in Noxubee County, once dominated by whites,is now majority black; and Democratic party officials in NoxubeeCounty, including NDEC Chairman Ike Brown and all but one of the30 current members of the NDEC, are black. Thus, whereas whites
 
Case 4:05-cv-00033-TSL-LRA Document 214 Filed 06/29/2007 Page 3 of 104

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